Tag Archives: New CD

Tony Monaco

Steve Smith’s “Groove Blue Trio” was in Bern last week and played five nights at Marians Jazzroom.  With Steve Smith on drums came Vinny Valentino on guitar and Tony Monaco on the hammond B3 organ.

I saw Steve Smith and Vinny Valentino before and they are excellent musicians but today I would like to focus on Tony Monaco. I heard him playing on some Pat Martino albums but last week was the first time that I could see him performing live. It was good to see him alive and healthy because he recovered from a major blockage of his widomaker artery.


Tony Monaco began his keyboard life at age eight, so he plays the organ now for 51 years. His destiny as a jazz organist was sealed when he first heard Jimmy Smith. Tony began working in Jazz clubs as a teenager in his home town Columbus, Ohio, guided by local organ gurus Hank Marr and Don Patterson.
In April 2000, Tony met fellow jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, who offered to produce his debut CD “Burnin Grooves”. The international success of the recording helped him to become a sought-after sideman. Tony toured and recorded with Pat Martino for over two years. Tony is an accomplished teacher as well. He has produced a series of instructional DVDs titled “Playing Jazz Hammond” that have become indispensable for many serious students of the organ. He released his 11th international CD “The Definition of Insanity” on Chicken Coup Records January 2019.


The album refers to the situation in the last years where he suffered health problems and became father at the same time, that’s what he called insanity. What he also wanted to achieve with this album is to look out for new musical directions. Tony explains: “With this project I wanted to present music that I love and I do it in a way I love to do it without an agenda”. Tony plays the organ, the accordion and he sings, his wife Asako plays piano on one song, guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Tony McClung, both from Columbus, Ohio support Tony Monaco on this CD.

The album contains songs from Phish (“Cars Trucks Buses”), Greateful Dead (“Truckin’”), “Never Let Me Go” as a reminiscence to the late Roy Hargrove, an excellent grooving funky version of Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down”, a very light version of “Quando Quando Quando”, the traditional Neapolitan song “Non Ti Scordare Di Me”, where Tony sings and plays the accordion and finally “A Song For You” by Leon Russell.

The album is a very personal and eclectic collection, all songs are played with a lot of heart and soul and so this albums gets a clear recommendation from me.

Tony is currently on tour with Steve Smith’s “Groove Blue Trio” and he told me that this band is about to record a new album. So look out for more Tony Monaco in the next months.

The album “The Definition of Insanity” on Spotify:

A nice video where Tony plays solo the song “Indonesian Nights”:

And finally a link to his website;

DannyJazz Quartet: Sunday


I am also very busy making music and today I have the pleasure to present a new album I recorded with my fellow musicians from the DannyJazz Quartet.

Four years ago we released our first album as a trio and since 2017 we play with a drummer as a quartet plus a singer. The result of this reorientation is an album with 13 originals, all written by our saxophonist and bandleader Daniel Gaggioli. All the lyrics have been written by Mandana, our singer.

The album is called “Sunday” and refers to a line in the song “Only Time For Us”:

Sunday morning in bed, nothing to get up for
Blue sky and sun, only time for us

The start of this album goes back to February 2017 when we played very successfully a new program of originals from Daniel Gaggioli. This was also the first performance with our drummer Nicolas Baechler. Some weeks later we had Mandana showing up in our rehearsal room (which is, as quite common in Switzerland, a bunker built for a nuclear war with extra massive doors where no noise goes through and you can rehearse during the night without bothering anyone). She liked the songs and promised to write lyrics to Daniel’s melodies and four months later we went on stage as a quintet. These concerts with Mandana have all been very successful and people loved the songs and Mandana’s singing and that’s where we started to think to make an album.

In January and February of this year we went into the recording studio. We booked again the Splendorstudio in Bern. Big thanks to Sandro Hässler and Martin Kissling for their support during the recording sessions.

Martin made a a nice little from these sessions and posted it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/splendorstudio/videos/1820355394661785/

It took a little bit to finish the mixing and mastering but finally today, September 1st, 2018, the album is available on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

In the next few weeks we will play this music live in the western part of Switzerland. We have several concerts between September 14 and October 6.

Here are the details:

  • September 14: Restaurant Entre Terre & Mer in 1673 Rue
  • September 20: KRAN in 3186 Düdingen
  • September 22: 20h de musique in 1680 Romont
  • September 28: Dorfhus Bistro in 3700 Spiez
  • October 6: Hotel Belle Epoque in 3011 Bern

I hope to see some of you there.

Here comes a playlist on Spotify for those who want to listen to the album right away: